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Obituary

Clarence 'Red' Stromwell Dies; Judge, Famed LAPD Detective

September 15, 1996

Legendary Los Angeles Police Det. Clarence "Red" Stromwell--who wore a trademark fedora while chasing robbers and the black robes of a judge when sentencing them--has died.

Stromwell was 72 when he died of heart failure Friday at his La Canada home, a police spokeswoman said Saturday.

The son of an LAPD robbery detective, Stromwell was a member of the department's famed "hat squad" in the 1950s and '60s. It was a four-man team that investigated bank robberies and was distinguished by the wide-brimmed hats that each detective wore.

"It was very rare you pulled out your gun," Stromwell told The Times after his retirement from the Police Department in 1967. "They'd see us coming . . . and put up their hands."

Stromwell joined the district attorney's staff after retirement and was named a Municipal Court judge by then-Gov. Ronald Reagan in 1972. He served on the Superior Court from 1984 until his second retirement in 1991.

He is survived by his wife, JoAnne, and a number of children and grandchildren. Services are scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday in the Hall of Liberty at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood Hills, 6300 Forest Lawn Drive, the spokeswoman said.

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